24th Luc’s Library commissioned at Chimwankhunda Primary School

* Stocked with 1,500 of reading books sorted according to the reading levels of the children

* The Luc’s Library initiative is reaching out to over 57,000 children in Blantyre and beyond

* Done in collaboration with various donors for Jacaranda Foundation outreach programs

By Duncan Mlanjira

Four months after opening the 23rd Luc’s Library at Namiwawa Primary School in Blantyre, Jacaranda School of Orphans executive director, Luc Deschamps has added another notch of inculcating the reading culture amongst on young minds by commissioning the 24th library at Chimwankhunda Primary School.

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Chimwankhunda has an enrollment of 2,000 primary school learners, who welcomed with enthusiasm the library that is stocked with 1,500 of reading books sorted according to the reading levels of the children.

The Luc’s Library initiative — done in collaboration with various donors for Jacaranda Foundation outreach programs — is reaching out to over 57,000 children in Blantyre and beyond.

Deschamps, who is also the French Embassy attaché to Malawi, asks the schools to provide an unused school block on their campus and he funds painters, artists and construction workers to renovate and decorate them into beautiful structures.

“Our carpenters from our school build the desks and benches and with assistance from our development partners outside the country, we donate the books,” said Deschamps.

The initiative also inculcates awareness on environmental protection by donating tree seedlings and for Chimwankhunda, Deschamps and his Jacaranda School crew provided 100 indigenous trees that were planted on the campus.

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Deschamps made special mention as a vote of thanks to US-based Sacks family for their contribution towards this 24th Luc’s library.

Attending the ceremony were District Education Manager of Blantyre Urban schools Mrs Kaliu, Ministry of Education officials as well as the chief and the counselor of the area.

Joining the Jacaranda crew was Deschamps’ nephew and niece, Melvin and Margaux, who are on a visit from France.

Luc’s Library add some beauty the school’s premises as Jacaranda paints the block it is being housed; decorates the walls; replaces all broken window panes; fixes its electricity and furnished the room with reading desks, benches and book shelves.

Of the 23rd Luc’s Library, Deschamps had said they are working to turn other libraries into centres of excellent where talented Jacaranda secondary students would be engaging and training primary learners in various skills.

Other Luc’s Library are at the following primary schools: Nayizi in Bangwe; Chiradzulu; Mbayani 1; St Pius; Kanjedza; Limbe Primary; St Maria Goretti; Makata in Ndirande; Nkolokoti; Bangwe Catholic; Kapeni;  HHI Primary School; Misess and Chigumula.

Others are community libraries at Pensulo Village (Blantyre); Kusewera Village (Lilongwe); Wandikweza Health Center (Dowa); Jacaranda Cultural Center (Blantyre, Top Mandala); Trade Fair Gounds in Blantyre (Stand 82) and Chemboma Village, Chigumula.

There are some children library installed at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital’s Paediatric Ward and Patsogolo Education Center for special needs children.

Jacaranda Foundation, that operates free primary and secondary schools for over 400 orphaned learners in Newlands, Chigumula, is doing wonders for its learners and in April last year it became the first school in Malawi to be awarded full scholarships to five of its students to study Bachelor of degrees in prestigious African universities in Botswana, Kenya, Mauritius and Zimbabwe.

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The five were David Mandiwa (in Biological Sciences at University of Botswana); Katie Kaonga (Social Sciences at Africa University in Zimbabwe); Harry Goliyo (Computer Sciences at African Leadership University in Mauritius); Idah Geoffrey (Entrepreneurship also at African Leadership University in Mauritius) and Franklin Rashid (Applied Computing at United States International University in Kenya).

This is in its 18th year of keeping orphaned children in school and more than over 100 of its graduates have go on to various colleges in Malawi such as the Catholic University; Malawi College of Accountancy; the Polytechnic; Malawi Institute of Tourism; Malawi Adventist University; Malawi Assemblies of God University — just to mention a few.

“I never thought that our students would be receiving full scholarships to international universities in Africa,” Da Silva had said last year. “These students have come a long way with some of them starting school at Jacaranda at 6 years old in Standard 1.

“And all were coming from very underprivileged homes. I am very proud of them. Those are amazing scholarships.”

In 2020, two of Jacaranda’s 2017 Malawi School’s Certificate of Education (MSCE) graduates, Clement Kammwamba and Reuben Salima, were sent to the USA for a semester Accelerator Program at Watson Institute in Boulder, Colorado where they were to develop social entrepreneurship skills.

This was not their first time to travel abroad as in 2016 they attended the Otis College Summer of Art program in Los Angeles and in 2017, they also traveled to Shanghai, Beijing, New York City and Los Angeles.

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